CITY HALL — You can't fight City Hall, they say, but a South Side alderman is trying anyway, with a new tactic — posting a petition on Facebook.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) launched the petition drive Friday on his Facebook page. It urges readers to sign the petition backing his Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance.
Submitted last November, the measure would set strict guidelines for the release of pertinent information on all city privatization deals, and 32 of the 50 aldermen signed on.
Yet it was immediately sidetracked to the Rules Committee, which has been called "where good legislation goes to die." Under the chairmanship of Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), the Rules Committee was infamous for inaction on measures uncomfortable to the reigning administration.
Following Mell's retirement this summer, aldermen had hoped for a change under Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), who formerly served as Mayor Rahm Emanuel's president pro tempore in the City Council, but changes have not been forthcoming.
The Emanuel administration came out in support of an independent budget office proposed by Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), and it was moved from Rules to the Budget Committee last month.
But Sawyer's privatization ordinance ordinance remains in limbo, along with other legislation cheered by progressive aldermen.
The City Council has been suspicious of privatization since Mayor Richard M. Daley's infamous parking-meter deal. Sawyer's ordinance is designed to make sure that aldermen get the information to make an informed decision on any such deals.
Sawyer's privatization ordinance earned the support of the Better Government Association over the summer, but that failed to produce any hearings or dislodge it from committee.
Sawyer asked visitors to his Facebook site to sign a petition backing the ordinance, adding, "It's time for a hearing to protect our workers and taxpayers."
"We need to have a real, full and public discussion on privatization," said Brian Sleet, Sawyer's chief of staff. "A lot of people care about this. We want to make sure that Mayor Emanuel and Ald. Harris know there is a public groundswell of support."
Sleet added that Sawyer and Harris have a good working relationship, as they serve similar wards on the South Side. "What we're trying to do is make it matter enough that she has to make a decision," he said.
The Rules Committee has no meeting scheduled before the Oct. 16 City Council session. Harris did not return calls for comment.